Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Chen for their valuable briefings, and I also thank Mr. Ewi for his insights.

Despite gains made in the elimination of the leadership of Da’esh, the transnational threat that the group and its affiliates pose to international peace and security is nonetheless growing, as stated in the latest report by the Secretary-General. This underscores the continued need for the Global Coalition Against Da’esh to maintain pressure on the terrorist group and to ensure its enduring defeat.

It is also important to remain cognizant of the terrorist threat that goes beyond Da’esh. Our fight against Al-Qaeda remains a global priority, and as the organization enters a leadership vacuum following the death of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, it is vital that the international community maintains its momentum in this fight. It is critical that the Security Council consider pragmatic measures to effectively address the transnational threat posed by terrorist groups across the world.

Bearing this in mind, the UAE would like to emphasize the following key points:

First, technology has the potential to considerably improve the quality of people’s lives. However, it can also be a double-edged sword: rapid technological evolution and wide commercial availability challenges Member States’ efforts to prevent misuse by terrorist groups. Still, emerging technologies have tremendous potential to aid in efforts to prevent, counter, and address terrorism. For instance, we have seen the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh employ artificial intelligence to analyze massive amounts of data in support of the prosecution of Da’esh members.

As underlined in the latest report by the Secretary-General, Da’esh has been able to substantially increase its use of remotely piloted aircraft systems acquired through a variety of means, including through the use of front companies and the conversion of commercial drones for lethal use. It is imperative that the international community take serious steps towards addressing the acquisition of drones and their components by terrorist groups, including Da’esh, Al-Shabaab, and the Houthis. Key gaps in the existing international framework must also be identified and addressed while being mindful of the essential role that autonomous and remotely operated systems play in counter-terrorism efforts.

Second, we take this opportunity to focus on the exploitation of Islam by terrorist groups to justify their acts of violence and hate through self-proclaimed Islamic appellations. We must not permit Da’esh and other groups to hijack a religion of tolerance and give credence to their pretences. I want to reiterate: there is nothing Islamic about terrorism. Therefore, we call on Member States and the UN system to put an end to the use of “Islamic State” in their reference to Da’esh, and to apply the same principles to prevent the exploitation of religion by other terrorist groups.

Third, as a matter of urgent priority, this Council must focus on preventing the emergence of the next generation of terrorists and extremists. As an example, at Al-Hol camp, more than 25,000 children are at potential risk of radicalization. Genuine efforts must be made to give these children hope for a more peaceful and prosperous future. In this regard, we appreciate the important work carried out by UNOCT, CTED, and other relevant UN entities in support of gender-responsive prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration measures that also address the specific needs of children.

Finally, it is essential that this Council uses all its available tools and instruments in addressing the gaps and emerging challenges in the current counter-terrorism architecture. This includes the consideration of practical measures against all individuals, groups, or entities involved in, or associated with terrorist activities.

Mr. President,

Terrorism anywhere affects the security of everyone, everywhere. We must leverage the current momentum and double down on efforts to eliminate Da’esh, its affiliates, and other terrorist groups. The international community must seize this opportunity and act now.

Thank you, Mr. President.